UN says it 'failed' to avert war in Sudan

UN chief Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that the world had "failed" to prevent the war between generals that is tearing Sudan apart, where the UN now wants guarantees to deliver humanitarian aid amid the fighting

UN says it 'failed' to avert war in Sudan

UN chief Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that the world had "failed" to prevent the war between generals that is tearing Sudan apart, where the UN now wants guarantees to deliver humanitarian aid amid the fighting.

Despite the announcement of an "agreement in principle" for an extension until May 11 of a truce never respected so far, "clashes and explosions" occurred Wednesday in Khartoum, overflown by military planes , residents told AFP.

Since April 15, the army of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane and the paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo have been fighting each other relentlessly.

At least 550 people were killed and 5,000 injured, according to a largely underestimated toll.

"We can say that we failed to prevent" the war, which took the UN "by surprise", acknowledged Wednesday its secretary general Antonio Guterres in Nairobi.

"A country like Sudan ... in such a desperate economic and humanitarian situation cannot afford a power struggle between two people," he added.

850 kilometers east of Khartoum, in the violence-spared coastal city of Port Sudan, UN emergency relief coordinator Martin Griffiths called for guarantees from both sides.

"General assurances must be translated into specific commitments," he pleaded, claiming to have had the two generals on the phone.

On Wednesday, six UN trucks were "looted" as they headed for Darfur in the west of the country, he added.

Before that, "17,000" of the 80,000 tons of pre-war food stocks had been stolen. And the UN is waiting to obtain customs approval to transport "80 tons of emergency medical equipment".

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk told the UN Security Council about the chaos in Khartoum.

"On Monday, an air force raid apparently hit a hospital (...) and the RSF took up residence in many apartment buildings in Khartoum, launching attacks in densely populated urban areas" , he said.

The five million inhabitants of the capital are surviving without water or electricity, short of food in the scorching heat, in a country where one in three inhabitants already depended on humanitarian aid before the war. Only 16% of hospitals in Khartoum are functioning today.

South Sudan, a historic mediator, nevertheless announced "an agreement in principle" on a truce "from May 4 to 11".

During the night from Wednesday to Thursday, the army said it had "accepted" this extension proposed by Igad, the regional organization for East Africa, pleading for "an African solution to the problems of the continent" while which she said until then was responding to American-Saudi mediations.

General Burhane's camp says it has pledged to "appoint an envoy to negotiate a truce" with a counterpart from General Daglo's camp under the aegis of "the presidents of South Sudan, Kenya and Djibouti" in a country that has yet to be determined.

The FSRs had not commented past midnight in Sudan. And the army specifies in its press release that all its commitments are conditional on "respect for the truce" by the other side.

The fighting has displaced more than 335,000 people and pushed 115,000 others into exile, according to the UN, which expects eight times as many refugees.

Sudanese consular authorities in Eritrea have announced that Sudanese refugees can now enter the country without visas, while foreigners continue to be evacuated by the hundreds, mainly via Port Sudan on the Red Sea.

In Darfur, mainly affected with the capital, civilians have been armed, according to the UN which lists a hundred deaths since last week in this region already traumatized by the bloody war which had broken out there in 2003.

Antonio Guterres considered it "absolutely essential" that the crisis does not extend beyond the borders of Sudan and threaten the democratic transitions and the peace processes underway in neighboring countries.

He pleaded for "massive support for Chad", Sudan's neighbor, recalling that "other countries in the region (are) in their own peace processes", such as Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi said "the whole region could be affected".

"We are doing everything we can to ensure that discussions take place," he said, as Egypt "already hosts millions" of refugees.

The UN envoy to Sudan, Volker Perthes, said the two warring parties said they were ready to "enter into technical discussions" for a ceasefire only, probably in Saudi Arabia, a country that maintains ties with rival generals.

The two had led the October 2021 putsch together to oust the civilians with whom they had shared power since the fall of dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019. But they failed to agree on the question of integration. FSRs in the army.

On Wednesday, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation met in Saudi Arabia to discuss Sudan, as the African Union called for avoiding "dispersed action".

For Ernst Jan Hogendoorn, Sudan specialist at the Atlantic Council, the international community must "strategically put pressure" by freezing the bank accounts and blocking the commercial activities of the belligerents, in order to reduce their capacities to "combat and resupply". .

04/05/2023 00:36:21 -         Khartoum (AFP) -         © 2023 AFP